Montmartre’s legendary La Vie Bohème – still the bohemian heart and soul of Parisian chic – has long been a siren call to artists and revolutionary thinkers

…including some of the world’s most celebrated painters, writers, dancers, musicians and entertainers. The birthplace of the can-can dance, Montmartre flourished in the Belle Époque but artists still line up along the sidewalks at the Place du Tertre. This current crop of artists evoke the street’s heady heyday where the easels once belonged to such iconic painters as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Piet Mondrian, Georges Seurat, Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh. Legendary writers such as Langston Hughes and dancer Josephine Baker also made Montmartre their home.

Located high on a hill overlooking the glittering City of Light, Montmartre is in the 18th arrondissement. Along with making Montmartre their home and/or studio, many artists made it the subject of their works. Renoir’s 1876 masterpiece, Bal du moulin de la Galette, depicts a Sunday afternoon dance in Montmartre. Toulouse-Latrec immortalized the Moulin Rouge and its can-can dancers in his many paintings while Seurat captured them with his signature pointillism.

Le Chat Noir is thought to be the world’s first modern cabaret, sparking numerous imitators (Picasso’s Barcelona favourite Els Quatre Gats among them) – but it is also notable for its iconic poster art. The original bar is long gone, but Théophile Steinlen’s classic Le Chat Noir poster lives on. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was painted in the Le Bateau-Lavoir building and is generally considered one of the most iconic and important works ever to have been created (it is also significant as a precursor to the Cubist movement).

Trace these artists’ steps as you walk through the stone-cobbled streets of Montmartre. Artists continue to paint watercolours and portraits along the Place du Tertre, but there are also a host of sidewalk cafés to soak up the ambiance.

The Moulin Rouge, founded in 1889, was Montmartre’s top hotspot of the times. An exhilarating swirl of courtesans and can-can dancers, the chic cabaret was the centre of nightlife. The original house burned down in 1915, but a revamped Moulin Rouge now sits on the border of Montmartre and Pigalle, just steps away from Montmartre. You can’t miss it – just look for the one windmill in Paris.

In a sense, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica (aka the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) is Montmartre’s version of the Eiffel Tower. Its most famous landmark, it sits atop a bluff and can often be seen no matter where you are. A Roman Catholic church with statues of Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX, tourists often visit the basilica for one of the best views of Paris.

Experience the home of joie de vivre for yourself!

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